ODIAL SOLUTIONS Group announces its purpose statement: “Africa, the source of our commitments to the planet!”
The Supervisory Board of ODIAL SOLUTIONS (SAHER, UDUMA, UDUMA MALI, VERGNET BURKINA and VERGNET HYDRO) has officially approved the group’s purpose statement. This statement, written jointly with the various stakeholders, “defines the essence of ODIAL SOLUTIONS Group, its values and its role in society, beyond its basic economic function,” Group CEO Thierry BARBOTTE explained.
Long-term orientation of the group’s strategy
Inspired by fifty years of experience and experiences, “Africa, the source of our commitments to the planet!” focuses the group’s long-term strategy on designing, building and implementing sustainable drinking water and energy solutions for rural populations in sub-Saharan Africa. Here is the full text:
“Africa, the source of our commitments to the planet! We will draw on our fifty years’ experience in supplying water and energy as we continue to work with the populations in rural and isolated areas to tackle the major challenges they face. We aim to bring everyone a future where well-being and conservation of resources can coexist. Respect, adapt, innovate.”
Sustainable consideration of social and environmental issues
This purpose statement is an invitation to all the Group’s stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers, shareholders, partners and local areas – to take the sentiment to heart and make it happen.
By announcing its purpose statement, the group has publicly committed to making social and environmental issues a central and constant consideration when setting its strategy. This undertaking and the group’s transparency are perfectly in step with the French government’s recommendations, as set out in the PACTE Law (22 May 2019).
Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC, Drinking water, Energy, environnement, Gestion, Management, Réservoirs, Services de l’eau, Solar, Water Supply Service, Water supply systems
Picture caption: Inhabitants of Mbuji Mayi drawing drinking water from a standpipe supplied by one of the two hybrid water networks within the framework of this project (photo credit: Enabel).
Converting fossil-fuel-powered generators to solar hybrid power systems: a high-potential market for the hydraulics sector in Africa
VERGNET HYDRO will convert to hybrid power two drinking water networks in Mbuji-Mayi city (Kasai-Oriental Province, DRC) by coupling the current Diesel generators to solar power plants to bring a continuous supply of water to more than 80,000 people. “Converting fossil-fuel-powered generators to solar hybrid power systems is without any doubt a high-potential market for the hydraulics sector in Africa. It is important that we start demonstrating the expertise VERGNET HYDRO has in this field now,” said Romain Dubreuil, Area Sales Manager for VERGNET HYDRO, enthusiastically. The hybrid systems are scheduled to be commissioned in December 2020.
The electricity network in Mbuji-Mayi is defective, inadequate and undeveloped in peri-urban areas. Consequently, drinking water networks are powered by Diesel generators. In this isolated province, however, fuel is expensive. This has a significant impact on the price of the water sold at water distribution points, which are in fact little used because they are financially beyond the reach of many local people. To provide wider access to drinking water, the Belgian development agency Enabel, financed by the Kingdom of Belgium, has opted to put in place a technology that is less damaging to the environment and offers lower, more controllable running costs: solar PV farms. “This pilot project is part of Enabel’s PROGEAU programme in DRC and is set to be rolled out to nine other drinking water networks in Mbuji-Mayi, to serve 350,000 people, and four networks in Maniema Province, to serve 100,000 people,” explained Fabian PROD’HOMME, the programme’s coordinator at Enabel.
Direct solar solutions without batteries
Under the project, direct solar solutions without batteries will be used to power the two water networks. To ensure continuity of supply 365 days per year, Diesel generators will take over from the solar generators where necessary, on very cloudy days and overnight. VERGNET HYDRO’s role in the project is to supply and install two solar farms, all the equipment required to connect the solar generators to the pumps, float valve systems for the tanks and pressure switch automatic regulation systems for the pumps. “The solar farms should produce at least 160m3 and 130m3 of water per day, with peak power of 37kWp and 32kWp,” explained Roman SNRECH from VERGNET HYDRO, who is in charge of the operational side of the project.
Training the network operators is another important aspect of the project. Indeed, it is essential to ensure that the network operators grouped together within the ASUREPs (drinking water network users’ associations) rapidly become self-sufficient in day-to-day management and equipment maintenance. “We will run four sessions with the technicians from each network and the inter-network technicians. We will equip them with tool kits (multimeters, assembly/disassembly tools, solarmeters, etc.) and provide a maintenance support service during the first few months,” said Roman SNRECH.
In 2019, ODIAL SOLUTIONS Group brought access to drinking water to almost 1.7m villagers in sub-Saharan Africa, often under challenging conditions – steeply sloping land in Togo, armed conflict zones in Mali – and in complex situations, such as private connections in Mauritania. Each time, we identified the most suitable models and techniques: manual pumps, solar pumps, small-scale networks or drinking water services.
In 2019, we also saw the work undertaken over the last four years through our UDUMA subsidiary come to fruition: at the end of the year, work began to set up the company’s first drinking water service. In two years’ time, 560,000 villagers in Mali’s Sikasso region will benefit from the service.
We offer a high quality, fair, sustainable, large-scale, replicable service based on technical and societal innovations. In 2019, it continued to garner growing interest among the international community:
- Discussion and working group with researchers from the University of Oxford
- Mentions in works such as those published by the INTERNATIONAL WATER ASSOCIATION and jointly by the AFD (French development agency), CNRS (French centre for scientific research) and FWP (French water partnership)
- Invitations to present the UDUMA model at events such as the Sanitation and Water for All high-level meeting in San José and the ALL SYSTEMS GO! symposium in The Hague
- The 2019 “Most innovative business model” trophy from the International Development Observatory (ODI)
This high level of activity required us to recruit new staff and skills, and reorganise and reposition the group. We were supported in this transformation, and in particular in restructuring our range of products and services, by BPIFRANCE’s SME ACCELERATOR, set up to assist SMEs with high growth potential.
… and a year of strides in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
We have developed our group in an enormous number of ways this year, and each one demonstrates our focus on our social, societal and environmental impact. We have designed and set up technical solutions to bring drinking water to hard-to-reach areas, actively encouraged employees to choose cycling as a form of transport for both their journeys to work and their lunchtime errands, saved more than 1,500 tonnes of CO2 per year thanks to our solar expertise and our conscious preference for solar solutions, and adopted an anti-bribery policy covering all group staff.
ODIAL SOLUTIONS Group joined the United Nations Global Compact on 28 January 2010. The Global Compact brings together businesses, non-profits and United Nations agencies through a commitment to ten universally recognised principles. “These principles offer a framework for organisations that are committed to adopting sustainable practices.” Each year, we renew our commitment to the Global Compact by publishing a new Communication on Progress.
This 2020 Integrated Report serves as both an Annual Report and a Communication on Progress. Not only does it detail our main business activities during 2019, it also highlights the social, environmental and societal impacts they have had. It then goes on to describe our specific CSR initiatives. Our CSR action plan is included as a conclusion to the report.
I hope you will find it interesting and informative.
Chairman, ODIAL SOLUTIONS
To know more:
2020 Integrated Report
Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC, Drinking water, environnement, Gestion, Guinea, International, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Sénégal, Services de l’eau
VERGNET HYDRO and MASCARA RENEWABLE WATER to offer a solution for the production of drinking water from brackish water, for Sub-Saharan Africa
From pumping unsafe water to distributing drinking water at the tap
Pictures caption: Solar-based drinking water supply solution from brackish water implemented by VERGNET HYDRO, MASCARA RENEWABLE WATER and AFRIDEV MATI in Manhiça (Mozambique) in 2018 (photos credits: the top-right one, Titouan GAREL; the three others, VERGNET HYDRO).
VERGNET HYDRO and the French SME MASCARA RENEWABLE WATER (Chartres) have just signed an exclusive partnership agreement for the implementation of a drinking water supply solution from brackish water in Sub-Saharan Africa. “The objective of this partnership is to pool our skills, strengths and networks in order to offer a turnkey solution to governments, donors and NGOs: from pumping unsafe water to distributing drinking water at the tap,” explains Thierry BARBOTTE, Managing Director of VERGNET HYDRO.
The level of salinity of the collected groundwater, which does not meet the drinking water standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO), is a regular problem in rural water projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. Salt water consumption causes dehydration and kidney disease. In addition, brackish water damages pumping equipment and pipes, which corrodes them, and causes metal particles to circulate in water systems, which on its turn may cause cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
OSMOSUN® complements VERGNET HYDRO’s 40 years of experience and innovation
MASCARA has developed an industrial technology for desalination of brackish water by solar energy, with very low operating costs, from 100 FCFA to 130 FCFA (€0.15 to €0.20) per m3, and electricity consumptions in the range of 1.2 to 1.5 kWh per m3. “MASCARA’s OSMOSUN® solar desalination units are based on reverse osmosis technology, and are all the more innovative, economical and ecological because they do not require a battery to store energy. We are indeed the first in the world to offer a solar-based solution,” says enthusiastically Marc VERGNET, President of MASCARA.
Within the framework of this partnership, this innovative technology is combined with VERGNET HYDRO’s 40 years of experience and innovation in rural hydraulics in Sub-Saharan Africa. “Our joint offer combines OSMOSUN® with VERGNET HYDRO’s energy production systems (solar fields and emergency generators), raw water pumping systems (exhauster columns, drill heads and manifolds) and storage and distribution systems (water towers, pipes, valves, etc.),” explains Etienne DECHERF, Chief Sales and Operations Officer of VERGNET HYDRO.
A first and fruitful collaboration in Mozambique
The signing of this contract is the result of a first and fruitful collaboration in Mozambique. In 2018, VERGNET HYDRO and MASCARA set up solar-powered drinking water supply systems with desalination in 6 villages (7,200 inhabitants) in the Gaza Province. The two French companies relied on the expertise of the Mozambican company AFRIDEV MATI (Maputo) to carry out the construction works and to manage the systems setup.
The VERGNET HYDRO/MASCARA offer will initially be launched in 8 Sub-Saharan African countries: Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal. The contract also includes testing this overall offer in Asia, starting with Bangladesh.
- Implementing an innovative drinking water service combining desalination and solar energy in Mozambique,
- Subscribing to a supplementary health insurance for the employees of our Ivorian subsidiary and their families,
- Digitizing the internal HR processes,
- Promoting a transparent drinking water management solution for rural Africa…
Some rich and various examples which contribute to the development of the ODIAL SOLUTIONS group’s activities. These initiatives illustrate the social, societal and environmental impact of our activities.
This report lists our main CSR actions in 2018 and confirms our commitment to the 10 principles of the UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL COMPACT.
I wish you a pleasant reading.
ODIAL SOLUTIONS CEO
To know more :
CSR Report/Communication on Progress 2019
Drinking water, environnement, Management, Mozambique, Quality, Water Supply Service, Water supply systems
An innovative drinking water service for 7,200 rural people
The Belgian Cooperation Agency ENABEL (formerly named Coopération Technique Belge, CTB) has accorded the construction of a solar-powered drinking water supply for 6 villages (7,200 inhabitants) in the Gaza Province in Mozambique to the joint-venture of VERGNET HYDRO (subsidiary of ODIAL SOLUTIONS group, Orléans, France) and AFRIDEV MATI MOZAMBIQUE LDA (Maputo, Mozambique). The 6 sites should be operational by July 2018. “And, we are very happy to rely on the skills of the young and innovative SME MASCARA RENEWABLE WATER (Chartres, France) in order to achieve a fundamental dimension of this project: water desalination”, says enthusiastically Thierry BARBOTTE, Managing Director of VERGNET HYDRO.
While these villages are located at more than 200 km of the coastline, the ground water is brackish and doesn’t meet the World Health Organization (WHO) drinking water standards. Salt water consumption causes dehydration and kidney diseases. The brine damages the pump equipment and the pipes, corrodes them, leads to the spread of metal particles, which can cause cancer, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
A solar-powered desalination process that doesn’t need any battery
The MASCARA solar-powered desalination process is all the more innovative, cost-efficient and ecological as it doesn’t need any battery for the power storage. The energy produced by the 6 solar fields directly powers its 6 desalination units based on the reverse osmosis technology: the OSMOSUN®. “It is our first project in Africa and our first project dealing with brackish water, and not sea water. This project is marking a turning point in the history of our young company”, claims Marc VERGNET, MASCARA Chairman.
The 6 solar fields (from 80m2 to 160m2) are going to power 6 OSMOSUN® and 6 electric water pumps appropriate for these salt waters. They are going to pipe the drinking water to the 6 water towers, which will provide the gravity-fed small piped water systems. The residual water will be rejected in infiltration basins. “For 100 liters of pumped brackish water, 80 liters of drinking water will be supplied to the villagers”, specifies Romain DUBREUIL, Business Development Manager of VERGNET HYDRO.
The total power of these 320 photovoltaic panels will be about 88 kWc. Each site will contain a container in which there will be one OSMOSUN®, one remote management system (using GSM and internet) and one electrical cabinet for the pump and the desalination unit. “These premises will host the monitoring equipment the unit, knowing that keeping up an OSMOSUN® only requires to change its filter every now and then and to replace its membrane every 10 years”, adds Thomas CANDELORO, Project Manager of VERGNET HYDRO.
A drinking water service managed by a private company
VERGNET HYDRO leads the project and provides the equipment, MASCARA will set up the desalination units and AFRIDEV MATI MOZAMBIQUE LDA carries out the local construction works, and is in charge of local management. Indeed, the Mozambican SME is going to manage a communitarian water service (equipment maintenance and water sales) for these 6 piped networks and 15 other small piped water systems in this Province. “Supervising and guaranteeing an ongoing water service in which everyone pays for one’s own consumption is a wonderful challenge for our company. Besides, we are going to double our staff from 15 to 30 employees in 2018”, explains Dario AMADE, Managing Director of AFRIDEV MATI MOZAMBIQUE LDA.
Today, these Mozambican villagers often walk kilometers in order to reach a manual pump. “These small piped water systems will provide them with clean water, near their homes and through taps”, concludes Laurent DELUCCHI, Senior Engineer and leader of this project for ENABEL. “It is also worth noting that this project is the first experience of a 100% solar-powered water desalination, that is to say without any battery, in Mozambique.”
ODIAL SOLUTIONS commits to the UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL COMPACT
ODIAL SOLUTIONS is first of all a group of enterprises. Our daily concerns consist of meeting our clients’ desires, keeping our employees and partners committed, strengthening our reputation and reducing management fees. Putting in place a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy enables us to tackle these challenges. CSR will be at the heart of the Group’s strategy for the period 2018 to 2023.
2018 will mark a turning point. While VERGNET HYDRO had subscribed to the UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL COMPACT since 2011, we have decided to involve from now on the entire ODIAL SOLUTIONS group, including all its subsidiaries, in order to promote the 10 GLOBAL COMPACT principles.
A list of CSR actions planned for the period 2018-2023
The “Communication on Progress 2018” report, describes the main actions in promoting the 10 GLOBAL COMPACT principles carried out throughout 2017. The conclusion (pages 21 and 22) includes a list of CSR actions planned for the period 2018-2023.
I wish you a pleasant reading.
Chairman, ODIAL SOLUTIONS
To know more :
Communication on Progress 2018
2018 will be an intense teaching year
For several decades, Official Development Assistance has mainly followed the same approach: lend to the cities and give to the countryside. The laudable objective was to provide “free” funding for essential services, such as water, energy, sanitation, health and education, in the poorest communities.
The assessment of these actions in rural areas is unfortunately very poor because, as is well-known, this infrastructure has never really been efficiently maintained. Countless pieces of equipment have simply been abandoned after a few years. Even worse, this financial waste has been overtaken by a social tragedy behind the statistics, which only take into account the systems and not their effective, sustainable operation, and so do not in any way represent the often tragic reality on the ground.
RURAL AFRICA HAS LONG BEEN MIRED IN A WAIT-AND-SEE ATTITUDE
This already very negative finding is even further aggravated by the behaviour encouraged by aid policies. Considered by many as incapable of funding basic services and therefore treated as a simple cost factor, rural populations are mired in a pernicious fatalistic, wait-and-see attitude. They are suffering even more for this attitude now, as the scarcity of public aid is depriving them of the funding they have become accustomed to.
However, the popularity of mobile telephones has demonstrated the extent to which people, even in rural areas, are willing and able to fund the services they need, provided that they work well. What is true for telephones will also be true for other essential services such as water and energy.
RURAL AFRICA SHOULD BE CONSIDERED A GENUINE ECONOMIC ACTOR
It is therefore high time to consider rural areas as genuine players in the African economy. Over half of the continent’s population still live in rural areas and, rather than deploring their alleged inability to adapt to the rules of the market economy, it is our duty to offer them models suited to their specific geographical and financial context.
The aim is to give these dispersed, cash-strapped rural populations access to basic services, especially water and energy, at a cost that is affordable to them. In this way, their freedom of choice and dignity that has been taken away by poorly conceived aid for far too long will gradually be restored to them.
2017, A MILESTONE IN THE HISTORY OF ACCESS TO DRINKING WATER IN AFRICA
2017 is a milestone in the history of access to drinking water in Sub-Saharan Africa. Our young subsidiary UDUMA, the first private operator offering people in rural areas the possibility to pay for the sustainability of the water supply services through regular contributions by the volume they consume, recently signed its first Public Private Partnership. More than 500,000 Malians will benefit from this service, starting April 2018 and for the next 15 years at least.
Sub-Sahara African governments are increasingly interested the public service delegation proposed by UDUMA. However, the transition from the « one-time procurement of equipement » paradigm to the « public service delegation to a private operator » paradigm will take more than the blink of an eye. This requires working hand in hand with all stakeholders, and explaining and reassuring.
2018 will thus be a year of intense teaching regarding the « UDUMA » management model and its advantages : universal access to drinking water, improvements in public health and jobs creation. I am convinced this challenge will be a success.
I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!
Chairman, ODIAL SOLUTIONS
Innovations at the heart of a large agroforestry project
The German foundation HANNS SEIDEL, leader of the project NTSIO in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has lately received in attendance of the European Union Ambassador in DRC the hybrid solar-powered water supply networks provided and set up by VERGNET HYDRO. « We are particularly proud of the trust that the HANNS SEIDEL foundation expressed to us when they gave us the opportunity to be involved in such a challenging project and to roll out not less challenging facilities », confides Thierry BARBOTTE, Managing Director of VERGNET HYDRO.
The 5-year community-based agroforestry project NTSIO, launched in 2013 and funded by the European Commission, aims at sustaining the populations of the Batéké Plateau (150 km from Kinshasa) through agricultural development in a 13,500-acre territory. Its originality is derived from the introduction of the acacia auriculiformis in the food crops rotation. The project benefits 260 households, in 65 farms composed of 4 houses each.
Hybrid solar-powered water supply networks in the Batéké Plateau
The people take advantage of an innovative approach to delivering access to drinking water. Firstly, because the inhabitants draw water from standpipes thanks to e-keys (cashless payment), that they beforehand credited with the water service operators. And, secondly, because « only few people believed that it was possible to introduce a hybrid solar-powered facility in the Batéké Plateau » specifies Romain DUBREUIL, Business Development Manager Africa and Business Manager DRC of VERGNET HYDRO.
VERGNET HYDRO installed hybrid solar-powered systems adapted to the solar radiation levels of DRC which pump the required 100 m3 water per day at a rate of 15 m3 per hour, knowing that the total dynamic heads (TDH) are close to 240 meters. « Our 27,000 and 30,000 peak watt solar fields, composed of 285 photovoltaic panels, deliver a little more than 100,000 kilowatt hours per year. It’s a primary in DRC! », concludes Romain DUBREUIL.
To know more:
Video introducing the project NTSIO
Drinking water, environnement, Events, Gestion, Pompes à motricité humaine, Services de l’eau, Uncategorized, Water supply systems
ODIAL SOLUTIONS reveals its strategy and strengthens its African partners network
Picture caption: photograph of the participants in the PARTNERSHIP DAYS 2017.
The ODIAL SOLUTIONS group receives 10 heads of partner companies from 10 subsaharian countries, from the 28th to the 30th of September in its headquarters (Ingré, France). “Although 17 of our African partners have not been able to join us because they did not receive their visas, for incomprehensible reasons, this event, full of brainstorming sessions, information sessions and cultural trips, is the opportunity to strengthen our powerful and active network and to introduce to our partners the strategy of the group, the activities of our new subsidiary UDUMA and our commitment to the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) principles of the UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL COMPACT”, specifies Thierry BARBOTTE, ODIAL SOLUTIONS CEO.
Today, the majority of the countries facing a low rate of access to drinking water are in Sub-Sahara Africa. To be precise, 400 million of rural people do not have any access to safe water in this region. However, the share of the overseas development assistance dedicated to water and sanitation in Africa is decreasing ever since 2013. It was even reduced by half between 2013 and 2015. “It is now 10 times lower than the necessary amount for achieving the Goal 6 (“Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the UNITED NATIONS, adopted by the world leaders in September 2015.”
A new funding model to ensure access to drinking water in Sub-Sahara Africa
“We are therefore obliged to invent a new funding model to ensure access to drinking water in Sub-Sahara Africa. Our new subsidiary UDUMA explores a revolutionary model”. On behalf of the local authorities and communities, UDUMA rehabilitates, operates and manages public manual pumps, which are often the only source of clean drinking water. UDUMA equips the pumps with water meters and data loggers. UDUMA guarantees a continuous water service with a 72-hour max downtime, at an affordable tariff.
“In practice, in a village which choses to delegate its drinking water supply service to UDUMA, each inhabitant has an e-card which enables them to buy, from certified pump operators, quantities of water they need. These cards are credited in dedicated kiosks or online.” An original model which is taking shape. Indeed, the young company UDUMA has launched its first Public Private Partnership, Wednesday the 20th of September 2017 in Bamako. UDUMA vies to provide 560.000 people in rural Mali (1,400 manual pumps, SIKASSO Region) with drinking water for the next 15 years.
Its will to extend its CSR policy
Yet it must be noted that this event is the opportunity for the ODIAL SOLUTIONS group to officially announce its will to extend its CSR policy and to involve all its subsidiaries in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). “VERGNET HYDRO has been a member of the UNITED NATIONS GLOBAL COMPACT for 7 years now. From now on, the ODIAL SOLUTIONS group and all its subsidiaries vie to respect the GLOBAL COMPACT’s 10 principles linked to the respect of human rights, international labor rights, environmental rights and anti-corruption.”
To know more:
The event in pictures